Finding appropriate insurance policies for a customer can be very difficult. It is a process that requires knowledge and skill — but empathy as well in determining risk management profiles that effectively cover the unique risks that each individual or company faces.
Actually understanding the wants and needs of a client – whether that client is an individual looking for a homeowners policy or a company that needs commercial insurance – cannot be quickly determined from a one size fits all questionnaire. This is true in insurance, but its also true across a range of industries, from IT security, to financial planning, to car dealerships. The truth is that market research and demographic information can only get you part of the way to truly understanding your clientele. A recent blog by Scott Anthony on Harvard Business Review was a great reminder of this. In it, he states that “If you don’t go, you can’t know” and encourages business people to leave their hotels, get out of their cars, and go visit the people they are trying to serve or sell to. To me, Scott’s philosophy is extremely relevant in the insurance industry, where too often brokers have you fill out a form so that they can issue you an insurance quote.
Assessing Risk Management and Developing Insurance Quotes
Traditional corporate marketing and management techniques have led many companies make broad stroke assumptions about their customers and prospects based on what they may have read in market research or on the Internet or perhaps heard from colleagues. Quite frequently, this information is disseminated from misinformed sources, or is based on anecdotal assumptions that are outdated or quite simply factually incorrect. The field of risk management is especially susceptible to this kind of bias and misinformation.
Here are a few things that we consider when assessing risk management and developing insurance quotes for customers:
What can we learn from this customer?
How can speaking intimately and developing real, human rapport with them help us to understand their needs, concerns, objectives and challenges?
As a business owner or manager, learning this kind of information about your client base is invaluable. Often, a simple chat with a current client or prospective customer can prove to be a thousand times more valuable than reading articles, research or books.
This concept is applicable far beyond the field of risk management. For example, Peter Lynch, in his seminal work One Up On WallStreet, recommends talking to low level employees at businesses before you invest in them. This is just another example of how a smart, business savvy individual will take the time to build real relationships with real people, and how this kind of relationship building will shape their careers and allow for a more insightful understanding of the business itself.
Learning the Secret and Developing the Approach
Like the title says, “If you don’t go, you can’t know.” Without understanding the human element of a situation, you will forever be constricted by the information and data you’ve been presented with. Learning to develop a better, more well-rounded approach will help your business to flourish.
The real secret to effective risk management is people. The business that takes the time to know its employees, to understand their wants and needs and lifestyles, is the business that will thrive in the twenty first century.
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